A brief history regarding Email.
August 4, 2020 Internet
This may feel just like a mini-course in ancient history, but I’m only returning 20 years.
In the mid 1980’s during University, my email was a mcgill.ca address while my American associates had an “.edu” email address. Use of these systems was via a Telnet session at the school’s terminals. From home, I really could dial-in to a SLIP server with a 2400 baud modem, and get my email provided that I had a Telnet client.
Those that didn’t head to College had usage of a Freenet account, which was also accessible through Telnet.
When I graduated and had to pay for an Internet Service Provider, buy edu email I accessed email through POP and SMTP with Outlook or Eudora for years until I needed the ability to access the internet from anywhere in the world. IMAP helped bridge the gap provided that the mail client was setup on my work and home computer so all my mail, Inbox, Sent Items, and Drafts, were synchronized.
With the popularity of web based emails by the mid 1990’s, the big 3 were MSN’s Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google’s Gmail. People would change or have multiple accounts as storage area was the biggest headache. It wasn’t sometime ago when 2 megabytes was the maximum storage space. Gmail was the first to offer 2 gigabytes of storage, and continuously growing.
Most web based email providers had the ability to download POP email, your email “from” or “reply-to” address was usually your web based email address. That is acceptable for personal use, however, not for corporate use.
At a corporate level, Microsoft Exchange combined with Outlook client was extremely popular, and continues to be popular today. Exchange is just a messaging and groupware server that uses IMAP as one of the numerous protocols to get into email. It also has got the Outlook Web Access feature which was easier than conventional web based email since it had your contacts, shared calendars and public folders.
Today, I still like using Outlook, since it provides a great “store and forward” mechanism: the ability to work off-line on my laptop. I can easily work in Draft mode on an aircraft and hook up to the Internet to synchronize my mailbox when back on land. Plus, my Contacts are synchronized with my Palm PDA or Blackberry wireless handheld device.
Sure, I really could download my Yahoo or Gmail to my Outlook by utilizing POP, nonetheless it wouldn’t synchronize any changes. It also depends if my mail was deleted on the server after downloading, or stored on the server. Sorting email may be painfully slow with Yahoo in comparison to Gmail’s lightning fast search algorithm, but you can’t sort by file size, for example.
Now that Gmail supports IMAP, by combining it with Outlook, I combine the very best of both worlds. There are some features of Outlook I cannot live without, and with the popularity of social networking, integration with LinkedIn or Facebook causes it to be more appealing.
There’s a development for personal email decreasing in support of Instant Messaging and txt messaging via cell phone. However, Email will will have a place in the corporate world.